Speech on the Public Procurement Bill [B18D–2023]
Speech by ACDP MP, Steve Swart

Issued by the ACDP Parliamentary Media Office

The Public Procurement Bill is a missed opportunity to address deficiencies

May 16, 2024

House Chair,

The Public Procurement Bill was supposed to be a response to the Zondo Commission’s damning findings on preferential procurement that contributed significantly to state-capture and corruption in the state. Public procurement accounts for a significant portion of government expenditure, nearly a trillion rand and approximately 22% of South Africa’s GDP.

The ACDP believes this bill is a missed opportunity to fundamentally address the many deficiencies in public procurement.

Chairperson, the Joint Strategic Resources were a group of expert academics who contributed to the bill. However, the ANC show scant regard for their inputs, and this invaluable resource was largely ignored.

In addition, the influential Harvard University’s Growth Lab, which did a study on South Africa called the Growth Through Inclusion in South Africa. It states that government will not be able to stop state failure due to a mixture of patronage, ideology and ideological gridlock, which has not been resolved by its leaders.

This report found that until cadre deployment (as the ANC strategy of building civil service capability) is scrapped, and government reconsiders the implementation of BEE at all costs, the South African state will continue to erode.

The ACDP agrees with this view and the Growth Lab singles out public procurement regulations as the creator of a tender-preneur economy, which it says benefits an exceedingly narrow few at the expense of the rest of South Africa, and this is disgraceful — and this is an influential group.

The ACDP, and many other people, agree with this view. Sadly, however, instead of reducing preferential procurement by state entities, this bill, in fact, contrary to legal advice, contrary to expert advice, has increased preferential procurement, and this is absolutely disgraceful.

What we need is ethics. What we need is honestly and morality in society. What we need is servant leaders who understand stewardship of state resources — you are not there like ANC cadres to loot and steal state resources — and these are the candidates that the ACDP offers.

The ACDP would like to emphasise that we do not support this bill.

I thank you. 

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